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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone�. I haven�t posted here for a while because recently I�ve been focusing purely on the more physical aspects of my IBS��� this focus has in fact brought me some improvement, however I do still have my off days, and that is why I am posting and seeking opinionAs things improved physically to a certain level, then, as you might expect, things have become easier on a more mental level � in fact confidence has gradually been returning, and this has facilitated itself in many ways, ranging from my own body language to the (most welcome) positive reactions from other peopleHowever, after an excellent period of about three weeks I had a bad day�.. it felt like a lot of the improvement was instantly undone. Immediately my body language changed, I started looking toward the ground as I walked, and even my voice was different�. it all felt very emasculating!My question is do you think its possible to maintain that level of confidence even when you�re having a bad day and experiencing bad symptoms (bear in mind that I rarely miss time off work and choose to rather fight through days like this) � do you really think that�s achievable? I know theoretically this is about associating symptoms with one�s entire being, but I�m trying to be real hereThanx
 

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I think it is important to remain realistic - which is not the same as pessimistic! I also think it is important to accept you have this condition, rather than to fight it. So many people try to fight it and it makes things worse. I'm not saying you have to tolerate pain or anything like that, but, it does become easier over time once you have learned some coping techniques, to alter how you feel *mentally* about IBS, and you have started this process. Congratulations! Remember it is very much like a rollercoaster: accept that some days you will be "fine" and others, you will not. Always recognise how far you have come. Look at you! 3 weeks in and you and the people around you, have noticed some very positive effects from your change of mind.I think when a flare up happens, it *does* knock your confidence. You get kicked in the arse by the what-if demons. Examples: what if i get stuck on the train? what if i can't go to work? to the cinema? to a party? how long is this going to last? what if...? on and on and on. You can see how this *would* make you feel twice as bad! Compare that way of thinking, to this:"ok, this is a flare up, and I now recognise it as such. It *will* pass. I know I have had some very good periods - and I have done fun things *despite* being scared a flare up will happen. Each flare up *will* pass. I know I can cope and I know I will adapt, but I will still enjoy my life." If your IBS effects are really bad (and we all know they can be horrible!) then take meds. (imodium or whatever works for you) + diet to manage physical effects as best you can. Learn relaxation techniques which will help with anxiety *and* will also help to ease pain. The important thing here is that You are taking gradual control of IT, *not* the other way around; so yes, you can build confidence even in a bad attack. Sometimes, despite all your best efforts (diet, relaxation etc) a flare will happen for "no reason" - and that's ok, because you have accepted that it will. You are now prepared to deal with it."Accept, adapt, relax."Easy to write, hard to do. But it *can* be done.
 

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I do not have anxiety issues much, but one of the things I found doing CBT for IBS (and I think this also works this way in anxiety) is that when you focus on the "all the work was undone", "I am back where I am started" "what if this goes on forever" sort of thoughts it really works to get whatever got going on to keep going on.When I realize that it is "just a flare up" and "this too shall pass" it seems to make things go away much sooner than usual, and also makes the flare up less intense.Focus on the three good weeks, and that if you did it once you can do it again. There will always be ups and downs, even people without IBS have days when they have GI symptoms for one reason or another. K.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think the problem is my perception of how the world perceives me when I'm having a 'bad phase'..... I mean the word 'disgust' comes to mind!Also a bad phase for me often isn't just one bad day but more than that, with some uncertainty as to when things will return to a 'more normal' stateI'm sorry.... I just think I've slipped for a couple of days after a good period - I'm very impatient... I want it all and I want it now!!!
 

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For quite a long time I kept my IBS as my own "dirty" secret. It isn't a "pretty" disorder, and I enjoy being considered a pretty woman.I'm not quite sure when the realization hit me that, by not owning and acknowledging the condition I was essentially being dishonest about who I am. How can I expect to feel liked and respected as myself, if I do not share about who I am?I do not go around trumpeting my condition on a daily basis, however, when I am having a flare-up, and feeling ghastly, I own it. Those close to me and important to me know that I have this condition, and that it can make me feel really ill.I have my fair share of people who think it's all in my head, but since I know it isn't,I forgive them their frailties!In my opinion there is absolutely nothing wrong ,or emasculating, about admitting that you don't feel good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wow!.... Thanx Topaz! You're words have struck a bit of a chord with me! I read a lot of very good advice on this site but it doesn't necessarily sink in! However, what you have described feels very 'real', perhaps because you were so eloquently relating it to your own experiences! Thank you.... and thanx Ed and KM for your feedback too!
 

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Totally agree with Topaz about other people's reactions: that's *their* reactions to you - how you decide to deal with those reactions *is* entirely up to you. Are you going to let them grind you down with their comments? (What are their comments like?) Are you going to say: "yes, I have a recognised condition and I am dealing with it. Are there any questions you'd like to ask me about it?" Challenge them, instead of feeling: "oh woe, I have this and everyone thinks I'm a lazy arse or a slacker!"Also, factor in: are You perhaps more sensitive to other people's reactions towards your IBS than you need to be? Is Your perception of them, out of line? Something to consider.If you had a broken leg, and you had it in a cast for 6 weeks, you wouldn't feel embarrassed would you? How is IBS different? Because people can't see your "cast" and it's all connected to the toilet?I think this culture is so anal retentive (pun on purpose) about so many things connected to bodies, that people just freak out. It is only ignorance; which is why it is so important to educate people. It wasn't so long ago that people were annoyed by nursing mother's feeding their children in public. Oh! The horror!
People would rather tell you how many times they had sex; or how much they earn, or who they vote for, rather than to admit that they Go.To.The.Bathroom. - much less they are suffering from a condition which is *out* of their control (noone would want to have IBS would they?) and which can strike at any time.IBS and "acceptance" from society at large, is gradually moving on. Slowly, but surely. Too bad the "mental health field" is unable to do similar.Don't feel ashamed of having IBS. Why should you?If you are getting hassle from your work colleagues, then have a word with them directly. Talk to your bosses or to the HR department - see if they are any help? They might not be, but it's worth a shot.
 
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